James Cook, DVM, Ph.D., director of the Comparative Orthopedic Laboratory at the University of Missouri, has been named the grand-prize national winner of the “Thank Your Vet for a Healthy Pet” essay contest for going above and beyond when it comes to caring for animals.
“I’ve been fortunate to receive a number of different awards in my career, but this award is probably the most meaningful,” Dr. Cook said. “I want my work and my life to make a difference in people’s lives and animals’ lives.
“In these cases, making a difference in a dog’s life made such a difference in these special people’s lives, and this award helps me always remember that and be motivated by it.”
Cook, who was also the Midwest regional winner, was chosen from more than 1,000 nominations made by pet owners throughout the country. All the vets received attractive certificates recognizing their nominations.
The contest to recognize America’s best veterinarians was sponsored by the Morris Animal Foundation of Denver; Merial Ltd. of Duluth, Ga., and BowTie Inc., publisher of Veterinary Practice News, Dog Fancy and Cat Fancy magazines.
Michael Ray of Deltona, Fla., was one of Cook’s nominators. Ray, who was paralyzed almost 30 years ago by a gunshot wound, contacted Cook after his service dog, Eagle, developed lameness in his front left leg.
Cook had developed an arthroscopic procedure that had a high success rate for treating conditions like Eagle’s so he went to the University of Florida to perform the surgery and to train the staff there.
Eagle is reportedly doing well.
Four regional winners were also named:
• James Thomas, VMD, of Eagle Veterinary Clinic, Havertown, Pa., for the Northeast;
• Bob Encinosa, DVM, of Boyette Animal Hospital, Riverview, Fla., for the Southeast;
• Tim Stone, DVM, Rittiman Road Animal Hospital, San Antonio, for the Southwest; and
• Thomas Nickerson, DVM, of Trinity Animal Hospital, Weaverville, Calif., for the West.
The winners will be honored at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. The special luncheon will feature Marty Becker, DVM.